The Scoop NOLA: Chiba
New Orleans, like most cities, has an abundance of sushi bar options. I can think of three places off the top of my head that are walking distance from each other. It’s also no big thing to pick up sushi while grocery shopping these days. There are definitely some standout sushi restaurants though, and as of late, Chiba has become my go-to spot.
It started a few months ago when a friend was gushing to me about Chiba’s Reverse ‘Funk and Roll’ Happy Hour. The name does do it justice, not to mention it happens Monday-Saturday. Sake is $3, house wines are $4 and sushi rolls are between $3 and $5, except for the ‘Let the Good Times Roll’, which is $13, but normally $16, and totally worth it. We’re talking tempura shrimp, crab and cucumber inside, with tuna and sweet chile sauce on top. You won’t want to share this one.
The Reverse ‘Funk and Roll’ Happy Hour can be taken advantage of from 10-11 pm on Monday & Tuesday, 11 pm-12 am on Wednesday & Thursday, and 12-1 am on Friday & Saturday. They also offer the same specials from 4-6 pm Monday-Saturday and all night on Wednesdays. But wait, there’s more: half-price cold sake bottles on Thursdays.
With the addition of Oak Street’s newest watering hole, Ale, these Reverse Happy Hours are probably gaining some popularity. The two establishments are only about two blocks away from each other, and if you’re going to late-night, it might as well be something delicious and not from a drive thru.
Chiba’s owner Keith Dusko opened Chiba in March of 2012 after spending many years in New York City’s Japanese restaurant scene. Like most sushi menus, it’s a little extensive, but it’s one that’s worth looking at every detail. There are several different ceviche options, including lobster; nine different types of steamed buns, and it wouldn’t be complete without the three t’s: tataki’s, tartares and tiraditos.
I love a good sushi roll with fruit, and the Satsuma Strawberry Roll is a serious showstopper. The fish involved are scallop and yellowtail and it’s topped with wasabi tobiko, strawberry, mango, jalapeno, tempura flakes, and finished with a spicy sauce and satsuma ponzu. The Jazz roll is another favorite of mine with an unexpected twist. You’ll find sautéed shrimp & crawfish, cucumber and avocado on the inside, topped off with a little pico de gallo. Like I said, unexpected, but really flavorful and somewhat light.
When it’s not happy hour at Chiba, you can expect to pay what you would at a nice bistro. They do offer some not-to-be-missed lunch specials Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. And just when you didn’t think it could get any better, they also deliver if you’re in the Mississippi River, Fontainebleau and Napoleon areas of town.